The Evening Blues - 11-8-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Professor Longhair


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans piano player and songwriter Professor Longhair. Enjoy!

Professor Longhair - Tipitina

"Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism."

-- Noam Chomsky


News and Opinion

Joe Biden Has Defended US Allies’ Use of Lethal Force Against Civilians

On an October evening in 2002, while quietly embroidering on the porch of her home in Nablus in the West Bank, 60-year-old Shaden Abu Hijleh was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces. A grandmother and community activist involved in promoting the arts, women’s and children’s advocacy, serving the needy and nonviolent resistance to the occupation, she had no links to any violent or extremist organizations. No protests or other violent disturbances were taking place nearby, and her killing is widely believed to have been a targeted assassination. In July the previous year, Isaac Saada was gunned down by an Israeli helicopter gunship outside of his home in Bethlehem. He was the father of 11 children and a beloved teacher at Terra Sancta, a Roman Catholic school in that West Bank city. Saada was actively involved with the peace education program of the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information. ...

Abu Hijleh and Saada were just two of scores of Palestinian activists murdered by Israeli assassins in the early 2000s. Though many of the targets were militants affiliated with armed groups, and included some suspected terrorists, Abu Hijleh and Saada appear to have been targeted simply for being locally prominent Palestinians opposed to the occupation. The Bush administration condemned the Israeli government’s policy of extra-judicial killings, which a report from the United Nations noted “are grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 147, and of international humanitarian law.”

On Capitol Hill, however, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee defended Israel’s use of these assassination squads, saying, “I don’t believe this is a policy of assassinations” since “there is [in] effect a declared war.” His name was Joe Biden, a senator from Delaware, future vice president and currently a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

A look at Biden’s Senate career has shown repeated occasions in which he has co-sponsored resolutions and issued statements defending Israeli attacks against civilian targets in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon as legitimate self-defense. Biden has defended Israel despite well-documented reports by human rights groups that Israel had engaged in serious war crimes. ...

Biden’s defense of an allied government’s use of lethal force against civilians in the name of fighting terrorism raises serious concerns about his possible future conduct as commander-in-chief. Not only is there little indication that he has changed his position regarding Israeli attacks on civilian targets since his time in the Senate, but he has refused to condemn Trump for the thousands of civilian deaths resulting from the U.S. bombing of ISIS strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul.

By trying to Silence Sanders, the Corporate Media De-Legitimize Themselves

Bernie Sanders’ campaign has finally gone full-throat with the obvious: the Democrat-aligned corporate media have thrown all journalistic principles to the wind to impose a “Bernie Blackout.” How can someone who was the most popular politician in the nation in 2017 be made into a non-person? It’s all intimately entwined with the multiple crises afflicting late stage capitalism. ...

The crises of late stage capitalism had suddenly multiplied in the belly of the imperial beast. On top of everything else, the system was suffering a crisis of legitimacy: nobody believed the official narrative anymore. Corporate warmonger Hillary Clinton was a world class loser; the maddeningly unpredictable Donald Trump had gone from fodder for ridicule to Commander-in-Chief of the empire; and self-styled socialist Bernie Sanders was the most-favored U.S politician – not thanks to his looks or charm, but because he championed BIG health, education and labor programs supported by supermajorities of the people. For the first time in neoliberal era history, the Race to the Bottom – the general blueprint of late stage capitalism -- was in trouble in the imperial headquarters country.

The rulers have not handled the multi-crisis well. With the national security state on point, the Russiagate scam has vastly worsened the U.S. regime’s already existing crisis of legitimacy. In the attempt to wound, weaken and control Trump, the Democrat-aligned political operatives and their media have savaged the Office of the President and made half of Americans believe the U.S. electoral system can be decisively subverted by actors half a world away with an ad budget of $100,000. What kind of superpower is that?

Corporate media has ruined itself, abandoning every artifice of “objectivity’” crafted over generations to convince the people that corporate journalism can be trusted as an arbiter of truth -- a Humpty-Dumpty that can never be put back together again. The half of white America that supports Trump will never believe anything reported on anti-Trump media – a huge and irreparable crisis of legitimacy for the system as a whole.

Yes, the Left – what there is of it – will have to figure out alternative ways to communicate and organize now that Internet algorithms are openly rigged and Facebook has become a hostile environment, especially for Black speech. But, Russiagate has stripped the ruling class’s legitimacy-sustaining tools of all credibility, and they can’t buy it back.

The rulers have turned the same machinery against Bernie Sanders. The New York Times and the Washington Post, the premier opinion molders of the corporate press, every day run front-page stories on the Democratic presidential race that either malign Sanders or pretend he doesn’t exist. As Sanders speechwriter David Sirota pointed out, when CNN commissioned a poll that showed Sanders in first place in New Hampshire, the news network put up a graphic that showed him in second place.

The corporate media methodically try to confuse the public about the cost and benefits of Medicare For All, free public higher education and the rest of Sanders’ signature proposals, seeking to render him a non-person with an illegitimate program. But, in doing so, they further erode their own legitimacy, and their usefulness to their masters, the Lords of Capital, who have no vision for the future except the Race to the Bottom. Tens of millions of Americans now know that the Democrats are a bastion of corporate greed and war, the Republicans are the White Man’s Party, and the corporate media tell lies for a living. Late stage capitalism has derelict institutions as defenders.

US and Israel were lone votes against UN resolutions opposing space arms race and nuclear Middle East

Important breakthroughs have arrived at the United Nation in preventing an arms race in outer space and to create a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. There are just two main obstacles: the United States and Israel.

While Washington and corporate media outlets portray China and Russia as aggressive warmongering rogue states, their votes at the UN show which nations are expanding dangerous militarism into new frontiers.

China and Russia joined dozens of other nations in sponsoring resolutions at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that sought to prevent armed conflict in space. Most of the international community supported these historic peace measuress. The only consistent outliers were the US and Israel.

Beijing and Moscow have been leading global efforts to stop the use of weapons in space. Meanwhile, Washington has unilaterally blocked the international consensus on preventing the deadly space race. Its roguish behavior predates the election of President Donald Trump.

And as nearly all UN member states have united in calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, the US and Israel have singlehandedly undermined their peace efforts.

French President Emmanuel Macron: NATO suffering 'brain death'

Macron criticised by US and Germany over Nato 'brain death' claims

Emmanuel Macron has said Nato is in the throes of “brain death” and European countries can no longer rely on the US to defend its allies, drawing criticism from both the US and Germany.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of Nato,” the French president told the Economist in an interview. “You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its Nato allies. None. You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another Nato ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake.”

Asked whether he still believed in the “collective defence” stipulations of article five of Nato’s founding treaty, under which an attack against one member is considered an attack against all members, Macron answered: “I don’t know.” Nato “only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what Nato is in the light of the commitment of the United States,” he said. ...

Macron had said in his interview that Washington was showing signs of “turning its back on us”, as demonstrated by the US president’s sudden decision to pull troops out of north-eastern Syria last month without consulting his allies. The move caught Nato’s leading European powers – Britain, France and Germany – by surprise and paved the way for Turkey to launch a cross-border military operation targeting Syrian Kurdish forces.

Macron decried Nato’s inability to react to Turkey’s offensive and said it was time Europe stopped acting like a junior ally of the US when it came to the Middle East. He repeated his long-held belief the EU must develop a military force and shore up its ability to act as a political bloc with policies on technology, data and the climate emergency.

US warns Iran is preparing a 'nuclear breakout'

The United States has accused Iran of preparing "a rapid nuclear breakout" after it began pumping uranium gas into hundreds of centrifuges, another step that violates the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the comments on Thursday, after Iran stepped up activity at its underground Fordow nuclear plant. He warned against Tehran's "violence and terror" and urged the international community to take immediate action.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) confirmed the latest nuclear programme step after 2,000kg (4,400 pounds) of uranium hexafluoride was transferred from the Natanz nuclear facility to Fordow. Iran previously announced that 1,044 centrifuges were installed at the well-protected facility. ...

"Iran's latest nuclear escalations reflect the regime's intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror," said Pompeo. ...

Iran's move at Fordow will make it even harder for the deal's other parties to prevent its ultimate collapse. The decision to inject uranium gas into centrifuges at Fordow was described by Russia as extremely alarming. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concern about Tehran's announcements but said European powers should do their part. "They are demanding that Iran fulfil all [obligations] without exception, but are not giving anything in return," he told reporters.

French President Emmanuel Macron called Iran's latest move "grave", saying it explicitly signalled Iran's intent for the first time to leave the deal - formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).


US Syria envoy lambastes Trump, says not enough done to prevent Turkish invasion

The top US diplomat on the ground in Syria has offered a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump over his decision to step aside and make way for a Turkish military offensive into northern Syria.

In a 3,200 word memo obtained by the New York Times on Thursday, William Roebuck said the answer to whether US diplomacy, more serious sanctions threats or an increase in military patrols might have dissuaded NATO ally Turkey from launching an offensive was "probably not".

Still, "one day when the diplomatic history is written," Roebuck said, "people will wonder what happened here and why officials didn't do more to stop it or at least speak out more forcefully to blame Turkey for its behavior."

Roebuck's memo may be the first expression of dissent from a Trump administration official on Syria, and comes as James Jeffrey, the top US envoy for Syria is set to meet with senior Turkish officials and members of the Syrian opposition on Friday and Saturday.

The operation Turkey launched last month was ostensibly an effort to clear its border area in Syria of Kurdish fighters, which culminated in a ceasefire agreement that saw the fighters leave the area. Roebuck, on the other hand, described Turkey's invasion as "war crimes and ethnic cleansing. An unprovoked military operation that has killed some 200 civilians, left well over 100,000 people (and counting) newly displaced and homeless because of its military operation," was how he described it.

Chilean police officer arrested after shooting students at protest

A Chilean police major who shot two students during a school protest has been arrested as a wave of political unrest enters a third week and the number of injured in street violence topped 2,000.

Maj Humberto Tapia was arrested by detectives on Thursday and charged with illegally discharging his shotgun inside a public school that had been occupied by students on Tuesday. A call by the beleaguered principal led to a confrontation with students in which Tapia fired into the floor, sending buckshot ricocheting into the legs of students.

The arrest came a day after prosecutors announced that 12 other police were under investigation for allegedly beating a 55-year-old man – and amid growing allegations that officers had raped and sexually abused detained protesters.

At least three soldiers have been charged for shooting protesters while an estimated 4,500 protesters have been arrested, although the vast majority have been released within 24 hours. ...

Chile’s embattled president, Sebastián Piñera, has been accused of a heavy-handed response to the protests: he initially responded by saying the country was “at war” and has since appeared to lurch between conciliation and further crackdown.

On Thursday afternoon, he summoned the heads of the armed forces, supreme court and congress for an urgent meeting of the national security council and called for emergency legislation to increase prison sentences for protesters who wear masks, build barricades or destroy property.

Piñera also called for the creation of a new intelligence effort to increase surveillance of politically active Chileans.

Brazil's Supreme Court ruling could liberate thousands from prison, including Lula

Lula: former Brazil president could be freed from jail after court ruling

Brazil’s supreme court has reached a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates who are still appealing their convictions, including jailed former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The court decided in a 6-5 vote on Thursday that a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals to higher courts have been exhausted. The tie-breaking vote was cast by chief justice, José Dias Toffoli.

The decision appears to cover Da Silva and others convicted in cases arising from the Operation Car Wash corruption investigation, which has ensnared dozens of top politicians and business leaders in Latin America’s biggest nation. The supreme court’s debate began in mid-October and its result could throw Brazil’s political landscape into uncertainty.

Da Silva, universally known as Lula, had been favoured to win the 2018 presidential election, but his conviction prohibited him from running. He remains a popular figure on the left, whose politicians and voters have called for his release. The former president’s attorneys said in a statement they will request his release on Friday. That move initially depends on a judge based in the southern city of Curitiba, where he is jailed.

Anonymous tell-all book likens Trump to '12-year-old in air traffic control tower' – report

The anonymous author of a widely anticipated book on the Trump White House has described the US president as spiraling from crisis to crisis “like a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower”, according to scathing extracts published by the Washington Post on Thursday. The unnamed author, identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration”, also says that senior officials considered resigning en masse in order to raise alarm about the president’s conduct, but ultimately decided against it, according to the Post.

The extracts obtained by the Post are due to appear in A Warning, a book written by the unnamed person who last year wrote a New York Times column critical of the president. They paint Trump as volatile and incompetent, while also describing racist and misogynistic private statements. ...

The unnamed author’s original op-ed in the New York Times, headlined I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration, alleged that some senior White House officials collaborated to protect the country and public from some of Trump’s most dangerous and irresponsible impulses.

Biden, Clinton, investigations: the three words Trump wanted to hear on Ukraine

Donald Trump wanted to hear three words out of the Ukrainian president’s mouth, according to newly released testimony in the US impeachment inquiry: “investigations”, “Biden” and “Clinton”. The Ukrainians had been told that the resumption of $400m in military aid “would likely not occur” until President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a televised statement, according to previous testimony.

The essential elements of the statement were dictated to diplomats by Trump himself, testified George P Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state who was in charge of Ukraine policy – until he abruptly was not. Trump told Zelenskiy on the phone in late July that he wanted him to pursue investigations of his political rival Joe Biden and a 2016 election conspiracy theory, according to a call summary released by the White House.

But by early September, after a creep down what another witness has described as a “continuum” of “insidiousness”, the demand had grown more specific. Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, told fellow diplomats at the time that “he, Gordon, had talked to the President – POTUS in sort of shorthand – and POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelenskiy to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations’, ‘Biden’, and ‘Clinton’,” Kent testified, according to the new transcripts.

UK diplomatic cables shed light on Cuba 'sonic attacks' scare

Official emails and diplomatic telegrams marked as sensitive reveal for the first time how the British government scrambled to understand a series of alleged “sonic attacks” on US diplomats who became ill in mysterious circumstances while on duty in Cuba. The US government ordered all non-essential staff at its embassy in Havana to return home after dozens of diplomats and family members developed headaches, dizziness and problems with balance, concentration and sleeping in a wave of illness that struck between 2016 and 2018.

Many reported falling ill in their homes or hotels after hearing penetrating sounds, described variously as grinding, buffeting or cicada-like chirps. The case reports fuelled speculation that the diplomats had been targeted with an acoustic weapon or some other novel device. No evidence of any such attack has been found. The events prompted a dramatic breakdown in relations between the US and Cuba less than two years after Barack Obama had sought to reestablish normal diplomatic ties between the nations. ...

More than two years after the diplomats fell ill, doctors are still no clearer about what happened. Two US medical studies that assessed some of thse affected found they had concussion-like symptoms and possible brain abnormalities, but independent medical specialists have criticised both studies. In a recent report that has not yet been peer-reviewed, Canadian scientists suggest excessive fumigation with pesticides to keep mosquitoes under control may be to blame.

Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, the director of the Cuban Centre for Neurosciences, who was part of a Cuban investigation into the incidents, said that without more data it was difficult to draw any firm conclusions. “But I am very sure what did not happen,” he said. “There is absolutely no evidence for a mysterious weapon causing a new syndrome characterised by brain damage and much less inner ear damage.

“Some diplomats may be ill due to natural causes, and we have not yet tested the idea of insecticides causing intoxication in some cases, but the results of what has been published tells us that there is no homogenous set of symptoms or lab findings. “And whatever has been found overlaps very much with several frequent medical conditions. The only common factor in most cases is a government telling employees they were attacked, and a media barrage that has largely reinforced this idea.”

Matt Stoller: Obama's 'catastrophic response' to financial crisis

'Maybe Rich People Can See the Writing on the Wall': CEOs Stepping Down at Levels Not Seen Since 2008

A record number of CEOs left their positions in October, a corporate outplacement firm reported Wednesday, the most in one month since the 2008 recession. The news from Challenger, Gray & Christmas raised eyebrows—and concerns over a possible incoming recession—Wednesday evening at progressive news co-op The District Sentinel's radio show. 

"Maybe this means nothing, maybe this is a coincidence," said show co-host Sam Sacks. "Or maybe rich people can see the writing on the wall and are cashing out right now." Sacks and co-host Sam Knight weren't the only ones who saw the news as possibly indicative of economic upheaval on the horizon.

"Sign of a recession?" wondered Globe and Mail reporter Paul Waldie.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas' report, 1,332 CEOs have already left their companies, far outstripping the total 1,257 departures by this time in 2008. A total 1,484 CEOs left their positions by the end of 2008. ...

The inverted yield curve—a sign of coming recession—that surfaced in October further suggested to The District Sentinel's Sacks that the CEO exodus could be a sign of imminent economic disaster. "Maybe these CEOs are seeing that inverted yield and are just like, 'yeah, let's just take our golden parachutes and get the fuck out of here,'" said Sacks.

'All About the Money': Kyrsten Sinema, Lone Senate Democrat Opposed to Net Neutrality, Tied to Comcast Lobbyist's Dark Money Super PAC

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the only Senate Democrat who has not co-sponsored legislation to restore net neutrality, reportedly has financial ties to a super PAC directed by a lobbyist for Comcast, a fervent opponent of open internet protections.

Sludge's Donald Shaw reported Thursday that a possible reason behind Sinema's refusal to join her Democratic colleagues in backing the Save the Internet Act "may be her relationship with a 'dark money' nonprofit called Center Forward that receives substantial funding from cable and telecom industry trade groups and its affiliated super PAC, Center Forward Committee, which is run by a Comcast lobbyist."

"Sinema directed a six-figure donation to Center Forward Committee through a centrist PAC that she used to chair just weeks before the group made big independent expenditures to support Sinema's campaigns," according to Shaw.

Telecom industry lobbying groups have given Center Forward "substantial and consistent donations," Sludge found in a review of tax documents. Sinema has also benefited from direct campaign contributions from the telecom industry.

Las Vegas bans homeless people from sleeping on the street

Las Vegas officials passed a law Wednesday making it illegal for the homeless to sleep on streets when beds are available at established shelters, despite fierce protests labeling the move as a “war on the poor”. The measure will apply to the city’s downtown urban core, not the tourist-heavy Las Vegas Strip, which is overseen by a different jurisdiction.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman, the sponsor of the measure, called it imperfect but necessary to deal with what officials and downtown business owners characterize as a homeless crisis. “This is flawed but it is a start,” the mayor said after noting Las Vegas’ economy relies on its image as an attractive international tourist attraction. “We have been having these conversations for 20 years,” she said, “and we must have results.” ...

The ninth US circuit court of appeals struck down a similar law from Boise, Idaho, last year, calling it unconstitutional to prosecute people for sleeping in public places when there aren’t enough shelter beds. The city attorney, Brad Jerbic, said the Las Vegas law was crafted to withstand a similar legal challenge, with its “if beds are available” provision. Opponents rejected city officials’ assurances that there will be enough shelter space when necessary.

The law provides for warnings by public officers, beginning Sunday, for people found “camping, lodging, sitting, lying down, sleeping and similar activities” in most downtown areas. Those activities become a misdemeanor beginning 1 January, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.



the horse race



CNN Caught Flipping Sanders/Warrens Poll Results

With Bold Immigration Plan, Bernie Sanders Becomes the Only Candidate to Call for Break Up of ICE and CBP

On Thursday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped his long-anticipated immigration platform. Arguably the most ambitious of any Democratic presidential candidate’s so far, the plan goes beyond a general call for a path to legal status for immigrants and takes full aim at President Donald Trump’s racist policies at the southern border. Unlike any other candidate, Sanders calls for the break up of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and to improve working conditions and labor protections for industries that rely on an immigrant workforce.

One piece of this is the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which would “provide domestic workers with at least a $15 minimum wage, strong protections for collective bargaining, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and fair scheduling,” regardless of immigration status.

“For too long, employers have exploited undocumented immigrants and guest workers to violate labor laws, skirt the minimum wage, and maximize their own profits,” the plan reads. “Large corporations target vulnerable communities as a source of labor and use their immigration status to retaliate when workers stand up for their rights.”

The release of Sanders’s plan comes after months of scrutiny from leftists and liberals over his immigration policy — long considered to be one of his primary weaknesses. His plan follows the common left positions on immigration, including reinstating and expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program; ending for-profit detention; and overturning the Muslim ban.

Notably, he also goes further than even his fellow progressive hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for full demilitarization of the border. To break up ICE and CBP, under Sanders’s platform, their functions would be redistributed to other federal agencies. Under a Sanders administration, “deportation, enforcement, border and investigatory authority would return to the Department of Justice,” naturalization and citizenship authority would go to the State Department, and customs authority would return to the Treasury.

Hill's Editor-in-Chief: Bernie Sanders playing to win with 30 million dollar ad buy

Taxing Bill Gates $100 Billion, Counters Bernie Sanders, Could End Homelessness and Microsoft Founder 'Would Still Be a Multibillionaire'

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Wednesday told a crowd at a New York Times sponsored conference that a proposed wealth tax from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, could take so much money from his vast fortune that he wouldn't know how much was left. "When you say I should pay $100 billion, then I'm starting to do a little math about what I have left over," said Gates, who prefaced his remarks by saying he was willing to pay $20 billion in taxes.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is also running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, pointed out on Twitter, Gates' fortune is valued at roughly $106.8 billion, leaving $6.8 billion after the hypothetical tax hit. "Say Bill Gates was actually taxed $100 billion," said Sanders. "We could end homelessness and provide safe drinking water to everyone in this country. Bill would still be a multibillionaire."


Warren, by contrast, rushed to reassure Gates on Twitter that he wouldn't be on the hook for $100 billion and invited the Microsoft founder to meet for a chat where the Massachusetts Democrat could "explain exactly how much you'd pay under my wealth tax."

Gates replied to the senator, saying that the tax discussion was part of an "interesting conversation" on how to solve the myriad issues at play in the primary. "I greatly respect your commitment to finding ways to address wealth inequality and poverty at home," said Gates. "While we may disagree about some of the ways to get there, we certainly agree we need a lot of smart people committed to finding the path forward."

Progressives found Warren's tone to be too friendly to Gates and politically problematic as it missed the power dynamics in play with Gates' wealth. "You can't logic Gates out of his class interest," tweeted lawyer and activist Emma Caterine. "This is about power. We need a president who tells the billionaires to suck it up, not one who tries to win them over."


Panel: The true reason Michael Bloomberg is running


Amazon's Major Money Dump in Seattle's City Council Election Seen as 'Dangerous and Ominous Development'

An attempt by Amazon to fill the Seattle city council with members more supportive of the company than the current progressive slate was called a chilling development for city government by critics of the move after Tuesday's election. Socialist councilor Kshama Sawant, one of the company's top targets, told The Guardian that her race had been uphill and that the power of a massive corporation like Amazon stacked against her campaign had been difficult to overcome. ...

Amazon dumped cash into the race via a super PAC, according to Bloomberg:

Amazon, the biggest employer in Seattle, contributed $1.45 million to a business-backed political-action committee to help elect council members Amazon views as more favorable to its interests and those of the business community.

The group, called the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, backed six new candidates for seven open council seats. Three of them are trailing in early results. It also backed one incumbent, who is leading her race. Two positions were not up for election this year.

In a Medium post from November 1, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), whose district includes much of Seattle, said she was unsettled by the company's involvement in the election.

"I am extremely disturbed by the unprecedented amount of money that Amazon has dumped into Seattle City Council elections—not just a thumb, but a fistful of cash, on the scales of democracy," wrote Jayapal.

Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid noted the insidious nature of that corporate influence in a city where campaign finance is set up to avoid such spending. "Amazon's attempt to buy Seattle's city council even as the city has a public financing system is a dangerous and ominous development unfolding in one of the bluest parts of the country," Shahid tweeted.

Alexandra Rojas: Inside Justice Democrats strategy to remake the Democratic party



the evening greens


When 92% of Democrats and 67% of Swing Voters in Key Battleground States Support Green New Deal, Pelosi's Opposition Called 'Out of Touch'

The youth-led Sunrise Movement pointed to a new poll out Thursday to repeat their case that Democrats who don't support a bold Green New Deal to help solve the climate emergency are not only failing a moral test but also making a deeply flawed political calculation about the public's readiness for a far-reaching plan to reduce emissions and transform the economy for the good of all workers.

The survey (pdf) in question, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in collaboration with the Cook Political Report, took a detailed look at both Democratic and swing voters in four key battleground states—Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—where President Donald Trump either beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 or outperformed expectations. While Clinton edged out her Republican rival in Minnesota, Trump claimed the other three—wins that many cite as pivotal for his overall victory.

Despite frequent arguments to the contrary made by corporate Democrats, among the overall findings of the KFF/Cook analysis is that few Democratic voters in these four states currently see "progressive positions as deal breakers in their 2020 vote." In addition, a specific look at the Green New Deal shows a full 92% of self-identified Democrats back such a plan. In its comments, Sunrise pointed to the 67%—a full two-thirds—of self-identified swing voters in these key battle ground states who said they also believe the Green New Deal is a good idea.

"These results confirm what we've known for months: the Green New Deal isn't just the right policy to confront the climate crisis and create millions of well-paying jobs in the process, but it's also smart politics," said Stephen O'Hanlon, Sunrise's communications director, in a statement.


"If Democrats want to win back states that delivered the election to Trump in 2016, these numbers show that candidates need to embrace the Green New Deal," O'Hanlon added. "Huge numbers of voters, especially new and infrequent ones, love the Green New Deal. That's why nearly every presidential candidate is out there campaigning on it. It's time for Democratic leaders in Congress to follow." O'Hanlon said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the corporate Democrats who continue to resist the urgent demands for a Green New Deal are "showing they're out of touch—not just with the science of climate change, but with the political mood across the country too. They need to reverse course and follow the leadership of young people, or risk waking up to another shocking election result next year."

Warren, Booker & Steyer to Take Part in First-Ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you, hip retorts to superannuated politicians.

New Zealand Lawmaker Drops a Devastating 'OK Boomer' on a Heckling Colleague

Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old member of Parliament for New Zealand’s Green Party, threw down perhaps the most devastating “OK Boomer” in history while delivering a speech this week calling for drastic changes to climate policy.

“How many world leaders for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep [climate change] behind closed doors?” she said. “My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury.” Swarbrick continued: “In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old.”

But right as she mentioned her age, one of her colleagues in Parliament butted and heckled her. Swarbrick wasn’t having that.


In case you’ve missed it, “OK boomer” has become a popular retort among Gen Z to older folks who just don’t seem to understand anything. You know, things like technology and climate change. ... And it has taken on a political life as well, with one teen telling the New York Times the phrase is for “outdated political figures who try to run our lives.”

“We Can’t Afford to Wait for the DNC”: Why Black Lawmakers Organized an Environmental Justice Forum

California's Burning, and Farmworkers Are Still in the Fields

Thousands of people fled Ventura County as smoke from the Maria Fire inundated the towns. But Juan Magaña and the 12 crop pickers he manages headed to the fields.

“When there’s work, we work,” said Magaña, who has been working in the fields for most of his life. As California struggles to cope with yet another devastating fire season, farmworkers like Magaña have to capitalize on prime strawberry season. The Maria Fire spread quickly last week, burning over 10,000 acres over the weekend and coming within a mile of one of the area’s largest farms. The state is the top producer of strawberries in the country, which means farmworkers stand to earn more during this time of year.


Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

Deconstructed podcast: The Bernie Sanders Interview

Speaking at a K Street Lobby Powerhouse, Joe Biden Renewed His Medicare for All Feud With Elizabeth Warren

'Outrageous': Sanders Condemns Kentucky GOP for Threatening to Overturn Gubernatorial Election

Why The Kurds Still Don’t Have a Country

Jeffrey Epstein with TrueAnon's Liz Franczak, Plus Elizabeth Warren's Dog | Useful Idiots

‘Epstein’s death is the weirdest case of suicide anybody ever saw’ – George Galloway

Despite Global Refugee Population of 70 Million, This Is How Many US Took in Last Month: None

Throwing the Base Under the Bus—and Other Deep Thoughts From NYT

Iowa’s Farmers & American Eaters Need a National Discussion on Transforming US Agriculture

Wall Street’s Liquidity Crisis: It’s Not Getting Better

Is America a democracy? If so, why does it deny millions the vote?

Krystal Ball exposes SJW hypocrisy on historic black election

Here’s a Handy Calculator for Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates to See How Much Warren Would Tax Them

Saagar Enjeti: Bloomberg's Run Will Only Help Bernie

Orangutan Sandra granted personhood settles into new Florida home

Thousands of rare 'ice eggs' found on beach in Finland


A Little Night Music

Professor Longhair - In The Night

Professor Longhair - Whole Lotta Twisting

Professor Longhair - Cuttin' Out

Professor Longhair - I’m Movin’ On

Professor Longhair - Everybody's Blowing Pt. 1

Professor Longhair - Go To The Mardi Gras

Professor Longhair - Professor Longhair Blues

Professor Longhair - Looka' No Hair

Professor Longhair - Jambalaya

Professor Longhair - Hey Now Baby

Professor Longhair - Philadelphia Folk Festival 1975


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13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Wally

i am relieved to hear that lula is out of prison. i'll be even more pleased when he is fully exonerated and his oppressors are in prison.

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14 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

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12 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

So many good things have happened the past couple days. WTF is going on? I'm not used to so much good news.

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14 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Wally

i'm crossing my fingers that amazon and the chamber weren't able to outright purchase an election.

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8 users have voted.

@joe shikspack https://mailchi.mp/9cd900ab1704/seattle-needs-rent-control-rally-saturda...

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3 users have voted.

Thanks Joe

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5 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, lagniappe:

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4 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

We picked up an excellent word—a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice, limber, expressive, handy word-'lagniappe'.... It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a 'baker's dozen.' It is something thrown in gratis, for good measure." In this passage from his memoir Life on the Mississippi (1883), Mark Twain calls his readers' attention to an American regionalism that he thinks deserves to be better known, We picked up an excellent word—a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice, limber, expressive, handy word-'lagniappe'.... It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a 'baker's dozen.' It is something thrown in gratis, for good measure." In this passage from his memoir Life on the Mississippi (1883), Mark Twain calls his readers' attention to an American regionalism that he thinks deserves to be better known, lagniappe. The story of lagniappe begins in South America: it ultimately comes from the word yapay, "to give more," in Quechua, the language of the rulers of the Inca Empire. The Quechua word was borrowed into Spanish as a noun spelled either llapa or ñapa, meaning "bonus, a little something extra added as a gift," and the word then spread throughout the Spanish of the Western Hemisphere. Eventually, the Spanish phrase la ñapa, meaning "the gift," entered the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans, where the whole phrase came to be thought of as a single word and acquired the French spelling lagniappe. The word was then borrowed into the English of the region. Lagniappe continues to be used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean "an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.". The story of lagniappe begins in South America: it ultimately comes from the word yapay, "to give more," in Quechua, the language of the rulers of the Inca Empire. The Quechua word was borrowed into Spanish as a noun spelled either llapa or ñapa, meaning "bonus, a little something extra added as a gift," and the word then spread throughout the Spanish of the Western Hemisphere. Eventually, the Spanish phrase la ñapa, meaning "the gift," entered the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans, where the whole phrase came to be thought of as a single word and acquired the French spelling lagniappe. The word was then borrowed into the English of the region. Lagniappe continues to be used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean "an extra or unexpected gift or benefit."

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10 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

mimi's picture

@QMS @QMS
to calm down a little old lady who got restless to not follow your explanations properly?

Many thanks, all perfectly clear now. /s
Wink

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5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

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13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

that's interesting about jay and peries. i had noticed that they were absent, but i didn't make much of it since they have been absent for periods before. i don't follow real news closely enough to realize that they had been ousted.

it will be interesting to find out what the real story is behind their departures.

i appreciate tulsi pushing for the release of the full set of facts about 9/11, though i have pretty much assumed that we would never be told the full truth in my lifetime.

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11 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
about "Gutsy Women", I wonder if there's a chapter in there about Tulsi ?

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12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

well, probably not by name. but, you know, if the nesting doll fits, um, you must acquit?

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9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
it was pretty obvious and in my view and opinion the real news network hasn't been the same since they were gone.

I couldn't figure out who ousted them or if they ousted themselves deliberately, but the whole thing looked like a coup. I feared for Paul Jay and thought he might have left the country. I wouldn't blame him if he did.

Marc Steiner and Gregory Wilpert just can't do justice to what Paul Jay founded and built in the 'real' Real News Network. Nothing real about it anymore.

Of course I have no proofs, but in these days proofs are somewhat surreal anyhow. Why would I care?

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5 users have voted.

The fed is trying to sell Plum Island in Gardiners Bay east of Long Island. It is home to many endangered species and hosts the DHS Animal Disease Center. Why are we selling public assets like this? Can't DHS pay the rent?

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7 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

i'm sure that the trump administration would like to sell off as much real estate as it can.

on the other hand, i wonder who wants an old biological warfare site. perhaps there is a group of evil genius mad scientists that would like to bid on it?

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

Maybe Monsanto wants it.
A very convenient place to poison LI (population 8 million).

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6 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

doesn't need any more facilities to create poisons, the ones they've got are devastatingly effective. perhaps they could use an isolated, defensible place to hide, though.

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6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@QMS  
and then slipped up, letting it escape the secret government project’s control and into the wild.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=plum+island+tick+lyme+disease

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7 users have voted.

Lots to go through this evening with all that you have compiled for us. Glad there is some good news with the release of Lulu and hope maybe some heads will fall for imprisoning him.

Tulsi is going to stir up some people with her standing with the 9/11 family members and wanting to know the truth.

Have a good weekend. We are having some beautiful days right now and hope to get a good bicycle ride in sometime this weekend.

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10 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

happy reading!

i think that the media is going to ignore tulsi in the same way that they ignore bernie. they are unpeople as far as the mainstream news media is concerned. i'm delighted that tulsi qualified for the next debate and i hope that she comes out with guns blazing, so to speak.

temperatures here are dropping tonight down into the low 20's for the first time, it may be a sort of chilly weekend, so no bike rides for me. i hope that you get to enjoy yours!

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11 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

regarding possible Medigap reform, i.e., adding LTC/LTSS care/supports.

On Twitter earlier today, found out that if Neal's requested changes were actually enacted, those of us whose so-called first dollar Medigap plans are due to sunset (regarding allowing new enrollees) at midnight Dec 31, 2019--IOW, enrolled in Plans F, High Deductible F, and C--would most likely be exempt from any new mandate(s). Yeah!

(Although it's not absolutely out of the realm of possibility, that the PtB could reverse the sunset.)

Getting ready for single-digit temps next week, unfortunately, when we're traveling to see Ms K. The encouraging news is that we've been told to expect to find a Puppy who's substantially updated her obedience skill set. We sure hope so!

Biggrin

Hey, Everyone have a nice, safe weekend. Stay warm!

ByeMollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
~~Cicero

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6 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

glad to hear that your medicare/medigap situation is probably going to work out ok for you. hopefully within a couple of years, everybody's healthcare situation will be good.

have a great weekend!

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6 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Great Noam quote! We are that.

Professor Longhair was great... the way he kept that bass rolling with the left hand was masterful. Good voice too. When Fats, Dr. John and Alan Toussaint are inspired...

Wish I could find the original Alan Toussaint Fortune Teller out there in youtubes land. Or the cassette I have it on to digitize. It was a real whoodoo voodoo sounding thing, way wild. The Stones version was tame by comparison.

This just in: Otherwise brain dead French Pres. Macron, somehow able to see NATO is brain dead.

Awesome Lula is OUT !!!

Glad to see Bloomberg stepping up to fill the centrist hole left by some of the centrists leaving the race. So it is still 18 centrists to 3 not, but who are being blacked out.

Battle of the New York Billionaires - a pay per view?

Those ice eggs in Finland were cool... think I might get a dozen....

Have a good weekend, thanks for the tunes!

edit-fixed spelling of 'might'

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9 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

are you looking for an allen toussaint version of the song, or the 1962 version of it (written by toussaint under a pseudonym) produced by toussaint, performed by benny spellman?

here's a remastered version of the 62 production:

have a great weekend!

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5 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@joe shikspack I think there is an actual Alan T. version. Maybe it was a demo. This sounded fairly polished, actually much like the Stones cover a couple years later. I recall something wilder and darker... which was said to actually be by A.T. (gotta dig through my cassettes and digitize) per discographer whom was a pro. This was great to hear though... actually a hilarious song. The Who covered it as well, and fairly rambunctiously as I recall... which was finally put on the re-issue/remix of Live at Leeds CD that had the extra 30 minutes not on the record. Can't remember if the Beatles ever did it? Don't think so.

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4 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

@dystopian Go Lula!
Change is gonna come.

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7 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

.
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13 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

@GreatLakeSailor and tell them we, the people, are not the dicks our government represents us to be, and that in truth, we are not represented.
I approach them to think of us as...not the US.

Edit: For clarification, it is face to face contact around the world where I have the opportunity to tell people I am NOT what my government says I am, and that my fellow Americans are NOT, either.
That I have these chats is humiliating.

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11 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@on the cusp @on the cusp
us know that. We love the American people for a reason and hate their government system likewise.

There is lots to love about the American people. Music and their guts. And their smiles and humor. They have a nice stubborness fighting whatever crosses their ways, too. And they have pretty awesome engineers.

Don't forget: This is still true for most of us non-grown-ups and the musical was composed and written by Americans.


Kiss 3

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6 users have voted.